No sane, free person would "choose" to wear a burka

  • Do we have an obligation to ban the freedom sack?

Calgary Herald

burkalili1Everything a Muselman needs…

A while back I was asked to give a talk at my kids’ school about my December 2003 trip to Afghanistan.

As I waited to be introduced, I hid in an auditorium storage room wearing a burka I bought in that war-ravaged country, thinking I’d be out in a minute, maybe two. But the introduction took a lot longer than I had anticipated and by the time I came out to greet all those shining faces, I was very nearly hyperventilating from the oppression of it. I didn’t time my self-imposed confinement to the burka, but I probably wore the suffocating tent-like garment with mesh over my eyes for no more than 10 minutes. I told the kids I felt like I was buried alive.

I also told them that while in Afghanistan, I asked all of the many women I met there whether they liked wearing a burka. Not one said yes. In fact, they all said they hated it almost as much as they hated the Taliban.

It’s no wonder. The burka’s toll on these women was harsh. Many had lost most of their teeth and hair as a result of not having enough vitamin D, which comes from the sun. During the time of Taliban rule–from September 1996 to November 2001 –no portion of their skin, save their hands, was ever allowed to be exposed to sunlight. Think about the horror of that. The Taliban insisted that homes with women in them had to blacken their windows, lest a man pollute his delicate sensibilities by gazing upon the uncovered face of a woman behind the glass.

On Monday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy stated during the first presidential address to a joint session of France’s two legislative houses of Parliament in 136 years, that the burka was “not welcome” in France.

“We cannot accept to have in our country women who are prisoners behind netting, cut off from all social life, deprived of identity,” said Sarkozy.

He’s right. Women in burkas don’t seem human. After just a short while in Afghanistan, women in their blue burkas seem like ghostly apparitions devoid of a face, individuality or humanity.

At first, when my translators would tap me on the shoulder and suggest I “take a picture of that burka over there,” I would gently correct them by saying, “you mean, that WOMAN in the burka?” In a couple of days, however, I too was referring to them as simply burkas.

In France–where it’s already illegal to wear any conspicuous religious symbol in state schools including a head scarf–a parliamentary committee is studying the issue of whether or not to allow women to cover their faces for supposedly religious reasons. As Sarkozy said, the burka is “not a sign of religion, it is a sign of subservience.” The Muslim Canadian Congress agrees and urged Canada’s government to ban the burka.

“The decision to wear the burka is by no means a reflection of the genuine choices of Muslim women,” said MCC president, Sohail Raza in a news release. “The argument that Muslim women opt to wear the burka does not withstand scrutiny when considering the repressive nature of orthodox Muslim society in general.”

Reached at his Calgary home, Mahfooz Kanwar, Mount Royal College professor emeritus of sociology and criminology, says many well-meaning Canadians believe it is “tolerant” to allow Muslim women the “choice” of wearing the burka.

“There is no choice involved in this, and allowing it will lead to intolerance,” said Kanwar.

“Some people say banning the burka would be a slippery slope and would lead to the banning of wearing a scarf over your mouth in the winter while outside,” said Kanwar. “But the real slippery slope can be seen in some Islamist ghettos in Paris or in Denmark, where non-Muslim women are harassed for not covering their hair to the point where they have been forced to start doing so to prevent verbal and physical attacks by semi-literate Muslim men. That’s the real slippery slope.”

Kanwar, a Muslim who has written eight books, including one on the sociology of Islam, echoes Sarkozy’s comments. “The burka is not mandated by Islam or the Qur’an and is therefore not religious and protected under the Charter. In Canada, gender equality is one of our core values and faces are important identifying tools and should not be covered. Period,” added Kanwar, who is also a director with the MCC.

Many French politicians are on the side of a burka ban including some prominent Muslim politicians like Fadela Amara, France’s cities minister. Amara has called the burka “a coffin that kills individual liberties,” and a sign of the “political exploitation of Islam.”

Funny, but “coffin” was a word several women I met in Afghanistan used to describe their burka. Consider the words of Massooda, a 36-year-old widow, who looked more like 60 as a result of her harsh life. “I will never wear a burka again,” she said defiantly. “They will have to put me in a coffin before I walk around in one again.”

That’s choice. No sane, free person would ever “choose” the burka.


8 thoughts on “No sane, free person would "choose" to wear a burka”

  1. There is one reference to “women wearing facemasks” in the Quran, and that is specifically with respect to the wives of the pedophile. The rest is an unwanted culture (e.g. from Sowdee land or Pakiland) trying to bastardize their own religion to convince the rest of us that this perverted requirement is a religious duty.

  2. Not a bad article. I agree, the Burkha comes across as a cage for women and suggests to me a complete abrogation of personal responsibility by men just as covering ankles was when imposed on Victorian women. Certainly, it can only result in an increase in sex-based crime as men are given back Adam’s excuse “the woman made me do it”.

    I believe that any government has the right to make such treatment of women illegal, as they also have the right to insist on the ability to see a person’s face. How to do it in such a way that it will not damage the wounded is what needs some wisdom.

    I had a friend that lived in Iran for a few years, who was told by some women that they actually feel safer in a Burkha. Imagine that for a minute. What would you have had to live through to feel safer in a Burkha? Keep that in mind when interacting with Muslim women that wear them. They’re the victim, be gentle.

  3. I saw the ultimate Islamic insanity while on Holiday in Malaysia . I was in a resort favoured by holidaying Arabs and saw a banana boat ride on which there were six or seven fully black burqa clad face masked women. Apart from being dangerous this was hilarious I wish we had taken a photo. My wife is an Indonesian Muslim who has no problem wearing bikinis and mini skirts and both she and I almost chocked laughing at this ridiculous stupid spectacle. Nearby on the sweltering hot beach , its in the 30’s here, were Mr Arab Muslim bare chested and in his swimming shorts dripping with gold, sweat, and suntan oil and hairy as an ape and alongside his two or maybe three wives/daughters, you can’t tell exactly what they are as they were all fully covered in black bags and masks . This is not just stupid its torture to make women sit in this sort of heat in a black bag. Ever watched a woman in a black bag and face mask try to eat spaghetti that is another hilarious spectacle too.

  4. Another point on Burqa’s and hijabs we are constantly told that women wear them from choice and that it is supposed to protect them from unwanted attention. Well if that is the case why do so many women I see especially in Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia both locals and tiurists alike wear burqa’s decorated with gold and silver patterns and coloured hijabs worn with pins and broaches ? Makes the excuse that women wear this hideous garment to avoid attention the bullshit it obviously is. Women are women and of course like to dress to attract this non Islamic mandated burqa BS is just another form of Arabic misogyny.

  5. Just got back from a holiday on the Isle of Wight , that quintessential English place – well , it felt English till the last day when round one
    of the corners came ……………yes , a black bag with something ( a muslim woman , I suppose ) inside.
    How dare they !
    Have they no sense of shame – no idea about how offensive it is to us ?
    Or maybe that’s the point .
    We’re much too accommodatimg – imagine what would happen to my wife if she wore a bikini in the yemen
    Ban the burka – ban the muslims from all non-muslim countries would be better .

  6. burka = swastika = hammer and sickle; it must immediately be totally banned in all enlightened and democratic countries. We fail to do so at our peril.

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